Sun beds: what are the risks?

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Sun beds: what are the risks?
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You might be a regular sunbed user or perhaps are tempted to give your skin a bronzed glow while we are in the full flung of winter.  However do you really know the risks of sun beds? A French study carried out by DGCCRF (Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control) has highlighted some worrying results.  Plus the World Health Organisation tells us more about the risks to our health. 

Centres don’t always respect standard procedures

The DGCCRF inspected 982 centres in France in 2016 which resulted in “358 warnings, 242 injunctions, 31 administrative reports and 25 criminal reports“. The organisation’ report stated that the vast majority of tanning centres did not comply with “new business practice measures introduced in 2016, or in 2013“.

These new measures involved important safety standards regarding tanning equipment and how they were used. What’s more some beauty centres did not perform regular technical inspections of their UV devices. (They should legally check their equipment every two years). The French authority DGCCRF highlighted that there was a “lack of official attestations after carrying out technical controls” on many devices.

Sunbeds are a cancer-causing product

Although there are “new technology” sun beds that meant to be “safer” many official health bodies remain skeptical.  As the World Health Organisation stated in a recent report called Sunbeds: The Melanoma Time Bomb, the original presumption that UVA is a safe form of UV radiation does not hold. If nothing else, it enhances skin ageing but, most likely, UVA also plays a role in skin cancer promotion.”  What is more, an average UVA light emitted by sunbeds will be the equivalent to midday on a hot British summers day.  However some beds exceed these emissions of UV light up to 20 times.

In 2003 the Word Health Organisation published a document giving advice and guidance about artificial tanning beds.  They emphasised that regular exposure to high UV lights could increase the likelihood of developing skin cancer. They also compared the dangers of using sunbeds to health risks of smoking.  According to the NHS you can’t always see UV damage straight away but symptoms can appear on your skin up to twenty years later.  If you are regularly exposed to UV rays under the age of 25 you are also more likely to develop skin cancer in later life.

Accelerates aging

Sun beds also fragilise your skin which makes it age faster.  Your skin can become coarse, hardened and more wrinkled in later life.  You might think your skin looks more bronzed and beautiful after a sunbed session but you might not think that 20 years down the line! Sun beds can also cause eye damage especially if you don’t wear protective goggles.  Conditions can include cataracts and photoconjunctivitis.  If there are as many dangers associated with sunbed why do we love to use them?

Despite all the risks associated with sunbeds many regular users remain unconcerned.  Cancer Research UK have carried out studies and believe that many people become addicted to sunbeds which is why younger teenagers should be discouraged.   Following campaigns from Cancer Research UK a law was passed banning sun bed use to under 18 s.

Concluding words

It is clear that sunbeds are not the most healthy form of tanning your skin.  There are many risk factors which can increase your chances of developing skin cancer.  Some countries like France could be one of the first to ban the use of sunbeds altogether.  Although this has not happened yet a new health bill has banned the advertising of UV tanning salons and sunbeds.

FranceTVinfo / NHS  / WHO

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